John Wheeler: 'How much snow fell?' is not the right question
The difference between a wet snow and a dry snow is the amount of air trapped in the accumulation.
FARGO — "How much snow fell?" If you think about it, this is not really the right question. When it rains, we may ask, "how much fell?" because the volume of rain in a gauge is representative of the volume of water that fell from the sky. Snow is different because it falls in irregularly shaped crystals that accumulate differently from one snow to another. We described last Tuesday's snow as wet, whereas the snowstorm on March 1 was a much lighter, airier accumulation.
Snow is made of ice. However, this ice accumulates with varying amounts of air between the flakes. The difference between a wet snow and a dry snow is the amount of air trapped in the accumulation. There is truly no way to answer, "How much snow fell?" We really show be asking, "How much snow accumulated?"